Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

June 15th, 2015

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower

I read “The Hour of Peril” primarily because I was interested in learning more about how Abraham Lincoln responded to this crises and in hopes of gathering more Lincoln stories and quotes.

The book actually focuses on famed detective, Allan Pinkerton, and how he foiled the plot to kill Lincoln before he could be sworn into office. In fact, the book relates the whole life story of Pinkerton Perhaps a more apt book title would be “Allan Pinkerton and the Secret Plot to Kill Lincoln.”

I was not completely disappointed, as I did come across five interesting anecdotes about Lincoln that satisfied my longing.

Allen Pinkerton

1) The “Slow Horse” Story

At a whistle stop in Thornton, Indiana, Lincoln came to the rear platform of the train and apologized for not having time to deliver his stump speech. He launched into an anecdote about an aspiring politician who owned a sluggish but sure-footed horse. “The horse was so confoundedly slow, however,” he said, but just at this moment – before Lincoln could deliver his punch line – the train lurched away from the depot, cutting him off in mid-sentence.

At the next stop along the line, in Lebanon, Lincoln found that some of his supporters from Thorntown had chased the train and were “panting to hear the conclusion of the story.” Lincoln cheerfully took up where he had left off, explaining the he himself shared the dilemma of the owner of the plodding horse. If he stopped at every station to make a stump speech, he would not arrive in Washington until the inauguration was over.

2) “Lincoln Shows Endurance of Bronze Statures”

In some towns where Lincoln’s train passed, men would line up to shake his hand, with the result that his fingers would be sore and swollen. According to John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary: “From what I saw of the President’s coolness under the infliction of several thousand hand-shakings I should say that he unites the courage of Andrew Jackson and the sensibility to physical suffering which is usually assigned to bronze statues.”

3) “Hydrologic Embraces”

Following the first day on the train, a group of Springfield friends took leave of Lincoln to return home. After much melodramatic hugging, they went on their way. Afterwards, Lincoln commented that he was not entirely convinced of the desirability of this preponderance of “hydraulic embraces.”

4) “The Lincoln Formula”

In the interest of keeping the train schedule, Lincoln’s trackside routine had been honed to a concise formula. Here is how Joseph Howard of the New York Times summarized the procedure: “Crowds – enthusiasm – little speech – little bow – kissed little girl – God-blessed old man – recognized old friend – much affected.”

5) “Mutually Surpassed Each Other”

In New York City, Lincoln received a pair of new hats from rival manufacturers, and diplomatically avoided expressing a preference between the two, by affirming: “They mutually surpassed each other.”

While I would have preferred more anecdotes about Lincoln himself, “The Hour of Peril” still told a fascinating story.

 

Upcoming Presentations

Sept. 8, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

June 8th, 2015

“Careers in Writing and Public Speaking” Booth

 

On June 5th I was a volunteer at the Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Mock Job Fair, in Tucson, Arizona, a yearly event that benefit tribal high school juniors and seniors.

The students profit from the job fair by:

1) Obtaining real world advice on successful interviewing;

2) Expanding horizons and knowledge of career options;

3) Networking with business community members and leaders; and

4) Learning how to get hired for future jobs.

Interviews

In the morning, I conducted practice interviews with the students and provided feedback and critiques of their interview responses and resumes. A common error in the interviews occurred when they answered the question, “What is one weakness that you have?” Many students answered “I have trouble getting up in the morning.”

I responded, “That is not a good answer. You can talk about a weakness, but you must also add something positive too. For example, “I have trouble getting up in the morning, but I am getting better because now I go to bed earlier and set my alarm clock to make sure that I get up.” This way, the interviewer is left with a positive, rather than a negative impression of the applicant.

Job Fair Booth

In the afternoon, I manned a booth in the Job Fair where I talked to students about careers in writing and public speaking. I had copies of each of my four books for them to look at and I had a stack of free Toastmasters Magazine, for those interested in learning about public speaking.

To each group that visited my table, I emphasized that operating your own business, be it authoring books/speaking, or any other business, requires fortitude. With tongue in cheek, I said, “three-and-a-half-titude is not enough. It has to be fortitude!”

The unvarnished truth is that if you don’t write books or make speeches, you don’t get paid. It’s up to you to light a fire under yourself and take the initiative.

An Illustrative Story

In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the master storyteller himself, I told each group a story to illustrate my point. I said:

A man was praying to God one day. He said, “God, let me win the lottery. I need the money.”

A week passed and no response came. The man prayed again, “God, I really need some money. Please, help me win the lottery.”

Another week passes and still no response. The man said, “God, what’s going on up there? Why aren’t you helping me?”

A booming voice came down from heaven and said, “Work with me. Buy a lottery ticket.”

Overall, I was greatly inspired by the students’ preparation for the event and their professional behavior. Each student shook my hand, asked intelligent questions and thanked me for participating. Many of them had high aspirations.  I was pleased to be able to play at least a small part in helping them to reach their goals.

Upcoming Presentations

Sept. 8, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

June 4th, 2015

Senator Stephen Douglas

Stephen Douglas actually feared the storytelling skills of Abraham Lincoln.

When he opposed Lincoln in the 1858 election for Senate, Douglas said: “Every one of his stories seems like a whack upon my back. When he begins to tell a story, I feel that I am overmatched.”

Stories, like pictures, speak a thousand words and, for leaders, stories are powerful ways to connect with other people, illustrate a point and win loyalty.

Many leaders lead by sheer force or the threat of force, like a boss that I once worked for. Every day I had this sinking feeling in my gut, like Haystack Calhoun at a Weight Watchers meeting. To lighten the mood, we nicknamed the boss “sparky” because she apparently combed her hair by sticking a finger into the electrical outlet.

“Sparky”

In contrast, Lincoln led by persuasion and inspiration. He showed deep respect for the dignity of each individual. The mechanism that Lincoln used to persuade and win people’s loyalty was thru a simple and unassuming story, most often told in the course of personal conversation.

Carl Schurz, a Union General who first met Lincoln while riding on a train, commented on Lincoln’s uncanny ability to attract followers, in stating,

” I soon felt as if I had known him all my life and we had very long been close friends. He interspersed our conversation with all sorts of quaint stories, each of which had a witty point applicable to the subject at hand.”

Famed author and black leader Frederick Douglass said of his first encounter with Lincoln,

Frederick Douglass

“From the first moment of my interview with him I seemed to myself to have been acquainted with him for years.”

The Woodman’s Daughter

Virginian W.C. Reeves advised President Lincoln to appease the South and let them have Fort Sumter and all other government property in the Southern states without a fight.

Lincoln said, “That reminds me of the fable of the woodman’s daughter”

“A lion,” said the President, “was very much in love with a woodman’s daughter. The fair maid referred him to her father. The lion applied for the girl’s hand.”

The father replied, “Your teeth are too long.”

The lion went to a dentist and had them extracted. Returning, he asked for the bride.

“No,” said the woodman, “your claws are too long.”

Going back to the dentist, he had them drawn. Then he returned to claim his bride, and the woodsman, seeing that he was unarmed beat out his brains.”

Lincoln concluded, “May it not be so with me, if I give up all that is asked to appease the South?”

Lick Any Man in the Crowd

Many people felt that the Gen. Ulysses S. Grant be removed from command because He drank too much, and his troops suffered too many casualties.  Mr. Lincoln could night afford to lose the services of so valuable a soldier. The press nicknamed  him “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

Grant

When southern armies would request to meet with Grant to discuss the terms of surrender, he would say “There are no terms! Only unconditional surrender!” because he would never negotiate terms of surrender with the rebels

Lincoln would tell the naysayers:

“That reminds me of a story,

“Out in my State of Illinois there was a man nominated for sheriff of the county. He was a good man for the office, brave, determined and honest, but he could not make a speech to save his life.

His friends implored him to come out and state his convictions and principles.

He finally relented to make a speech, advanced to the front and faced the crowd.

‘Feller Citizens, ‘I’m not a speakin’ man; I ain’t no orator, an’ I never stood up before a lot of people in my life before.

I’m not goin’ to make no speech, ‘xcept to say that I can lick any man in the crowd!’ ”

The beauty of these stories are that Lincoln told them in the first place. He could have just argued until he was blue in the face. However, no amount of reasoning could have persuaded people the way his stores did.

Lincoln said, “I reckon I have the popular reputation of being a storyteller, but it is not the story itself, but its purpose, that interests me. I often avoid a long and useless discussion or a laborious explanation by a short story that illustrates my point of view.”

Connect With Hearts

 Stories allow leaders the great virtue of being able to laugh at themselves, and connect with people’s hearts.

One story that Lincoln was fond of telling dealt with two Quaker ladies comparing Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davies.

Quaker story.

“I think Jefferson will succeed,” said one.

“Why does thee think so?” asked the second.

“Because Jefferson is a praying man.”

“And so in Abraham a praying man.”

“Yes, but the Lord will think Abraham is joking.”

Lincoln’s Empathy

Lincoln’s proclivity to tell stories was related to the empathy he felt for people and the series of personal tragedies that followed him throughout life.

Willie Lincoln

The strongest blow may have been when his eleven-year-old son, Willie, died of typhoid fever, while Lincoln was president. Willie had the same magnetic personality of his father and he was Lincoln’s favorite. They were intimates, often seen hand in hand. Staggering under the blow of the taking from him of his child, Lincoln said, “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth.”

Even in this darkest hour, Lincoln relied on stories to see him through. He confided to a minister, “A good story is medicine to my bones.”

Paint a Picture

Remember, next time you need to make a friend, illustrate a point, or win loyalty, – replace talking, with stories. And you’ll paint a picture that speaks a thousand words.

 

Upcoming Presentations/Activities:

June 5th, 2015. Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy. Tucson, AZ.

 Other Lincoln Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

April 22nd, 2015

 

Participants at the 2015 ALP Convention in Vandalia

Last Saturday, I made a presentation to the Association of Lincoln Presenters Convention  entitled, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” based on my book.

The presentation took place in the Old Vandalia Statehouse, Vandalia, Illinois, (Illinois state motto – Please Don’t Pronounce the “S”) in the chambers where Lincoln actually served as a state representative. I thought I could feel Lincoln’s spirit in that venerable place.

It didn’t hurt that all the Lincoln Presenters were decked out in full Lincoln contume (“with a great beard comes great responsiblity”). They were the most receptive audience I’ve ever had. I felt they all loved Lincoln as much as I did.

At the age of 28, while serving in the Illinois General Assembly, Lincoln made one of his first public declarations against slavery, in the Vandalia Statehouse. Lincoln stated,The institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy”

One historian called it “The first formal declaration against the system of slavery that was made in any legislative body in the United States, at least west of the Hudson River.”

Lincoln also received his license to practice law in the Vandalia Statehouse in March of 1837.

On Lincoln’s Trail

While in Illinois, I availed myself of the opportunity to visit the “sacred” sites where Lincoln lived and worked. I saw Lincoln’s log cabin in Lerna where I met E,D. Dowling, who worked at the site, and who also was distant relaive of Dennis Hanks, a cousin of Lincoln’s mother.

I visited Lincoln’s two-story house in Springfield, and his burial plot in Oak Ridge

Lincoln Springfileld Home

Cemetery, where Lincoln, his wife and three of his four sons are buried.

I also visited the cemetery plot of Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln. Lincoln had a storng bond with her and before he left Illinois to assume the presidency, he went back to Lerna on a sentimental journey to visit her.

In an interview with William Herndon after Lincoln’s death, his stepmother said,  ”His mind and mine, what little I had, seemed to run together, more in the same channel.”

My Presentation

Here are a few highlights from my presentation to the Lincolns:

Cemetery Walk Tours

One memorable convention activity was cemetery walk tour in the Old Vandalia Cemetery. It involved actors portraying the roles of the people buried in the cemetery. It really touched my heart to hear such a vivid presentation of how their lives were changed by the civil war, and the various joys and tragedies they encountered in life.

Most moving was a slave who had been given his freedom by a kindly slave owner. After Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation,the former slave joined the Union army and following the war, led a productive life as a free man in Vandalia.

Vandalia Cemetery Walk Tour

 

Abe’s favorite book! (aka John Mansfield)

Upcoming Presentations/Activities:

June 5th, 2015. Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy. Tucson, AZ.

 Other Lincoln Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

April 11th, 2015

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.

– Abraham Lincoln

Vandalia Statehouse where Lilncoln served as a state representative

Abraham Lincoln may no longer walk this Earth, but his message continues to beckon us.

Through the example of his life, Abraham Lincoln shares a truth with us that, like the Rock of Gibraltar, is immovable and unalterable. He is entrusting us with his version of the Philosopher’s Stone, but instead of converting any metal to gold, it has the power to transform strangers into friends. Lincoln proved the value of stories in his liberal use of them to achieve his extravagantly lofty goals.

If we follow the path blazed by Lincoln, we too can navigate through life, our stories

preceding us, obstacles dropping like chain-sawed trees before us.

In our persistently fast paced and burdensome lives, it’s easy to feel a little discombobulated. We can reorient our inner compass needle to true north by relying on stories to see us through. You may not share Lincoln’s burning desire to be President, but whatever your goals may be, stories are sure tools in achieving them.

 Prepare yourself to tell stories

 Yyou can begin now:

Rock of Gibralter

1.  Compile a “storytelling” notebook

2. Memorize and practice stories

3. Adapt and personalize your stories

4. Add a moral, or a humorous ending, to your stories

5. Use self-deprecating humor

Today is the day

Stories were Lincoln’s road to greatness and they can be ours too. To be successful, we don’t need magic beans or Ninja tricks, we just need stories. Any occasion that we can imagine is an appropriate time to share a story with someone.

Lincoln said,

“I will prepare and someday my chance will come.”

Today is your day. Your chance has arrived.

Upcoming Presentation – Join me in Vandalia

Saturday, April 18th I will be a guest speaker to the at The Association of Lincoln Presenters 2015 Convention, Vandalia, Illinois. The title of my speech is “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.”

Location: The Old Vandalia Statehouse, 315 W. Gallatin Vandalia, Illinois 62471

Time: 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Historical note: The Vandalia State House, built in 1836, is the fourth capitol building of the U.S. state of Illinois. It is also the oldest capitol building in Illinois to survive, as the first, second, and third capitol buildings have all disappeared. The brickFederal style state house has been operated by the state of Illinois as a monument of Illinois pioneer years since 1933.

The Association of Lincoln Presenters

Upcoming Presentations/Activities:

April 18, 2015. Forum Speaker at The Association of Lincoln Presenters 2015 Convention, Vandalia, Illinois.

June 5th, 2015. Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy. Tucson, AZ.

Related Posts:

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

                   Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Job Fair

         Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Remove that Garbarge Disposal Now!

April 1st, 2015

 

To owners/managers of rental properties, gargbage disposals are like a hanging fingernail – they are painful to have around and the sooner they are gone the better..

What do I have against gargabe disposals?

1) they just hang below the sink waiting to break down

2) they can smell like a sewer, and

3) they are a hazard to tenants!

There is almost no upside to having garbage disposals. If tenants have leftover food,  they just throw it into the trash can.

Having just replaced garbage disposals in two of my rental houses, I can say that there is one good thing that I like about garbage disposals. They are easy to remove.

Removing the Disposal

1. Use the GD remover tool to release the garbage disposal. Remove tubing first. The GD will fall to the ground. Be ready to catch.

2. The one tricky part is that to remove the basket fron the sink opening (that was formerly connected to the GD), there is a retainer ring below  the sink that must be pried off with a screwdriver.

 

Once the garbage disposal is out, replace it with the appropriate pipes.These days,the tubing just connects togther. No need for glue.  It’s as easy as putting tinger toys together. Piece of cake.

If you need, help ask the experts at Ace Hardware. That’s what I did.

 

Upcoming Presentations:

April 18, 2015. Forum Speaker at The Association of Lincoln Presenters 2015 Convention, Vandalia, Illinois.

The Association of Lincoln Presenters

Additional Articles:

6 Steps to Roof Maintenance (for the Home that will Turn Into a Rental House)

How I Evicted A Problem Tenant in 4 Steps

When to Hire a House Inspector – Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Getting Rid of Bad Tenants

“Turn your home into a rental” on Mark Wayne Show

7 Reasons to Live in a Fixer-Upper House While You Repair It

6 Steps to Roof Maintenance (for the Home that will Turn Into a Rental House)

Our First Rental House Plunge

10 Most Frequent Problems Found by House Inspectors

5 Steps to Get Your House Ready to Rent by Terry Sprouse

5 Steps to take if your house is flooded

Some perfectly legal ways to maximize your rental profits

Add “Start a Rental House Business” to Your Bucket List

The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money and Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

Window Repair with #2 Son

Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses

Learn to Repair Your Fixer Upper Houses

How I Got Started In Fixer-Upper Houses

How to learn to operate a fixer upper house business

The Peaceful Warrior and Fixer-Upper Houses

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

February 11th, 2015

Last week I made two presentations.

First was a power point presentation to the distinguished residents of the Arizona Senior Academy on “How Abraham Lincoln Told Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” The audience was one of the most Lincoln-informed that I have had the pleasure to present to. During he question and answer period following my presentation, I was asked extremely insightful questions about Lincoln. I was having so much fun interacting with the audience, several of whom were authors themselves, that I hated to leave.

Arizona Senior Academy

My second presentation was to the Aztec Toastmasters Club on the topic of “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Overcome Trials and Tribulations.” Below is a clip from that presentation, on how Lincoln used stories to soften the blow of saying “no”.

 

Upcoming Presentations:

April 18, 2015. Forum Speaker at The Association of Lincoln Presenters 2015 Convention, Vandalia, Illinois.

The Association of Lincoln Presenters

 

Related Posts:

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

 Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

January 31st, 2015

 

Abraham Lincoln said, “Stories are the shortest distance between a stranger and a friend.” Lincoln understood the power of a story.  It was a tool that allowed him to quickly and dramatically connect with people.

I will share the techniques Lincoln used to tell a story in my presentation on Wednesday (Feb. 4) at 3:30 p.m. at the Arizona Senior Academy.

Based on my newest book, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” I will illustrate Lincoln’s methods of mimicry, self-effacing humor, and adding a moral or surprise twist to a story.

I will also discuss the following five examples of why Lincoln told stories.

 1) To replace depression with an anecdote

Friends of Lincoln commented that he was able to snap himself out of a seemingly deep depression by telling a funny story.

Judge David Davis (of the Eighth Circuit Court in Illinois, the Court where Lincoln practiced law), said that after long days in court,

“If Lincoln was oppressed, the feeling was soon relieved by the narration of a story. The tavern loungers enjoyed it, and his melancholy, taking to itself wings, seemed to fly away.”

2) As safety-valve to relieve stress

Do you think that your life is stressful because you have a raving boss and a dysfunctional family life, while at the same time trying to find enough money to make ends meet?

Consider for a moment how stressful Lincoln’s life was. He was President during an unpopular war that he seemed to be losing; the majority of his Cabinet members thought that he was an ignoramus and they all could do a better job as President; and, a hysterical wife made his home life seem like A Nightmare on Elm Street. If Lincoln had been under any more pressure he would have turned into a diamond.

Given the situation that he found himself, it’s only natural that he needed some way to blow off steam and relieve the pressure. He did that though storytelling.

It was common for Lincoln to liven up a Cabinet meeting by telling a story or by reading some humorous quotes from his favorite authors Artemus Ward and Robert Newell (both genial newspaper critics who supported Lincoln’s policies.)  When nit-picky Cabinet members failed to appreciate the humor as he did, Lincoln reproached them by saying,

“Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh occasionally I should die, and you need this medicine as much as I do.”

3) To avoid making a commitment

 It seemed that nearly everyone (in addition to the aforementioned salted mixed-nuts in the President’s Cabinet) thought they could run the county better than Lincoln, and they were not shy about coming to the White House to tell him so.

Lincoln often used stories as a sort of insect repellant against the army ant horde of know-it-alls who came to his office with their harebrained schemes. Law partner, William Herndon, observed Lincoln’s methods as,

“. . .  Swinging around what he suspected was the vital point, but never nearing it, interlacing his answers with a seemingly endless supply of stories and jokes.”

Visitors would leave his office feeling they had persuaded the president to their way of thinking, but once having walked only a few blocks they realized they had been bamboozled by Lincoln’s tricky verbal manipulations, or as Herndon put it,

“[After] blowing away the froth of Lincoln’s humorous narratives, they would find nothing left.”

 4) To soften the blow of having to tell someone “no”

 Lincoln received many “favor seekers” to his office. Often they were upset because he had fired a relative who was in line to become a general, or because he backed a program that ran against their interest, or he failed to give a job to a “qualified” candidate.  Lincoln politely welcomed them all and immediately waylaid them with a story.  These visitors left his company without what they came for but with only with what they were given: a story with a message for them to think about.

One example of how Lincoln used stories to soften a refusal was when Senator John Creswell (a loyal Republican supporter of Lincoln) came to Lincoln to request the release of an old friend who had been captured and imprisoned.

Creswell admitted,

“I know the man has acted like a fool, but he is my friend, and a good fellow; let him out; give him to me, and I will be responsible that he will have nothing further to do with the rebels.”

Lincoln contemplated the request. It reminded him of a group of young people who went on a little country excursion. They crossed a shallow stream in a flatboat, but on their way back they found that the boat had disappeared. So each boy picked up a girl and carried her across, until the only ones remaining were a little short chap and a great “Gothic-built” old maid. Lincoln complained,

Jefferson Davis

“Now Creswell, you are trying to leave me in the same predicament. You fellows are all getting your friends out of this scrape; and you will succeed in carrying off one after another, until nobody but Jeff Davis [President of the Confederate States] and myself will be left, and then I won’t know what to do. How should I feel? How should I look, lugging him over?”

5) To point out flaws in logic

 Combined with his rapier wit, Lincoln’s proclivity for logic enabled him to point out the absurdity of an argument with a casual jest.

Supporters of an applicant for the position of Commissioner of the Hawaiian Islands tried to convince Lincoln that their man was both competent for the post but also in dire need it because the climate was good his health.

Lincoln responded:

“Gentlemen, there are eight other applicants for that position, and they are all sicker’n your man.”

 Upcoming Presentation:

Feb. 4, 2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

January 3rd, 2015

 

Alex and Tina attempt to put me In a double arm bar, unless I agree to tell one more Abe Lincoln story.
“Sorry Alex and Tina, you’ve reached your daily limit!”

Friday was my interview on the Morning Blend (KGUN 9 TV), with genial hosts Alex Steiniger and Tina Jennings, to discuss “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.”

I had a chance to tell Lincoln’s “Pitchfork and Dog” story and one of my own stories, based on Lincoln’s storytelling techniques, “the Doctor and the Hot Mama.”

 

Here is the complete interview :

 

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Upcoming Presentations or Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Feb. 4, 2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of Story,” to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

 

Related Posts:

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

December 13th, 2014

 Abraham Lincoln’s “Teeth Will Be Provided” Story

 The fiery Irish minister was preaching on the End Times – and in particular on the Day of Judgment. As he reached the climax of his address he said that on the Day of Judgment “You will all wail and gnash your teeth.”

At which point an old woman raised her hand and said, 

“Preacher, I ain’t got no teeth.”

The Minister replied, “Madam, on this great Judgment Day, teeth will be provided. “

Radio Interview

During my radio interview with Bob Schmidt (WLFN 1490 A.M.) on Friday, I discussed how Abraham Lincoln used body language, facial expressions, and voice mimicking to make a story effective.

 “Be the ball, Danny”

 In the movie Caddyshack, Chevy Chase earnestly instructed his young golf protégé,

 “Danny, there’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”

Likewise, one of Lincoln’s storytelling secrets was his ability “to be the story,” or, by putting himself so much into the story and into each character of the story, he and the story became one.

William Herndon

William Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, said,

“Lincoln’s power of mimicry and his manner of recital were unique. His countenance and all his features seemed to take part in the performance.”

Do’s and don’ts of Lincoln storytelling     

Here are the “do’s” and “don’ts” in the Lincoln school of storytelling:

Do:

1) Give each character a personality: a voice, a stance, a way of moving.

2)Use words to vocalize an emotion, and use facial expressions to visualize the emotion.

3) Add interest to your voice by varying your rate of delivery, your volume, your pitch, your inflections, and your word emphasis.

Don’t:

1) Be overly melodramatic; keep expressions and gestures subtle.

2) Be afraid to have some fun.

For a great example of using body language and facial expressions to communicate, watch Charlie Chaplin in the boxing scene from his masterpiece “City Lights.”

Learn to mimic voices

Much of Lincoln’s success as a story teller was due to a talent for mimicry. Author T. G. Onstot said,

“In the role of story-teller, I never knew his equal. His power of mimicry was very great. He could perfectly mimic any accent.”

In my case, I use voices of famous actors as voices for the characters in my stories. Some of the voices I use are John Wayne (for any cowboy-type, or tough-guy character), Henry Fonda (for Abraham Lincoln, or “good guy” characters), Jack Nicholson (for bad or slimy guys), a teenager whose voice is breaking (for teenagers or scattered brained characters), Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh, or Goofy, (for a slow thinker or a frightened person).

Here are some tips on how to mimic voices:

1) Watch videos on YouTube of the person you want to imitate;

2) Practice saying the same words that they say;

3) Practice at least four times a day;

4) Make a video of yourself doing impressions;

5) Anytime you read a book to children, practice using different voices for each character when you read a book to the class.

In developing a “minister voice,” a voice that Lincoln would have used in the “Teeth Will Be Provided” story, I watched

Reverend Lovejoy

videos of Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons. Some keys to learning the minister voice were to speak slowly, to deepen my voice at the end of a sentence, to stretch out the last word of each sentence, and to incorporate a slight southern twang.

Don’t worry if your impersonations are not perfect. Mine never are. Impersonations just need to be good enough to allow the audience to identify the characters.

 

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 FREE on Kindle only December 25!

“How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones.” Download

Reviews are appreciated!

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Upcoming Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Dec. 30, 6:08 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the genial and witty Jeff Anderson, KSDR AM, Watertown, SD.

Jan. 2, 11:00 -noon (Mtn. time). Interview on the Morning Blend with hosts Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, KGUN9-TV, Tucson, AZ.

Feb. 4 ,2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

Podcasts of Previous Interviews

Dec. 11, 2014. Interview with the redoubtable Rich Peterson, KROC Radio 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota. Podcast.

Related Posts:

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

 Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes